A message against violence in the Goulburn Valley

By Ashlea Witoslawski

A number of local organisations joined the No To Violence Listening Tour on Wednesday, sharing their views on family violence in the region.

Representatives from a number of organisations were joined by State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed in a workshop facilitated by No To Violence chief executive officer Jacqui Watt.

The event gave those involved an opportunity to connect with others in the family violence space, as well as a chance to highlight the hotspots of greatest need for the community with Ms Sheed.

No to Violence is the largest peak body in Australia representing organisations and individuals working with men to end family violence.

The group identified a number of pressure points currently felt by their organisations.

These included substance abuse, housing affordability, demand for integrated referral pathways, wait time for services, lack of funds for staffing, lack of early intervention, the need for a central intake point and upskilling of allied family violence services to name a few.

Accountability of all parties was discussed and a greater need for checking and balancing of programs.

Ms Sheed asked those in the room what referral services and agencies they use and joined in discussions about lawyers’ roles in family violence circumstances.

Ms Watt said this was the best turnout the organisation had seen at these events in Shepparton.

She said the Shepparton group showed ‘‘a lot of energy to do something different’’.

‘‘It’s great to speak to those on the ground and learn more about the work being done by the local community,’’ she said.

‘‘Also having Suzanna listen to concerns adds gravitas to the event.’’

From the age of 15, one in six Australian women experience physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner, compared with one in 20 Australian men.

On average, at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia.

The No To Violence event is part of a state-wide listening tour ahead of the Victorian election in November.

GVCASA provides free and confidential counselling, information, advocacy and support to all people who have been affected by sexual assault.

The services are provided throughout Greater Shepparton, Moira, Mitchell, Murrindindi and Strathbogie shires. Phone 1800112343 for more information.